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sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May

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Offline 4runner

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sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« on: March 22, 2010, 01:16:01 PM »
I am planning to hike the South Rim and possibly tackle the entire Outer Mountain Loop around May 10th this year.  I know that average temperatures during May range from 60 to 90 degrees F (and possibly a bit cooler in the high mountains).

My question is this:  How cold can I expect it to get at night, and can I get by without a sleeping bag?

I plan to pack a small tent, along with a rainfly, just in case.  But, to save weight and space in my pack, I thought about just bringing a mummy bag liner (I have the Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite mummy bag liner).  And, just in case I encounter colder weather, buying one of those space blanket emergency bivy shelters (less than $20, http://www.rei.com/product/750944).

My current sleeping bag is an ancient synthetic bag that weighs a ton and takes up a lot of space.  I've already spent a good chunk of change on a new pack and some other stuff specifically for this trip, so I am trying to avoid taking the plunge on a pricey new bag if I can avoid it.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Ya'lls input is appreciated as always.




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Offline Robert

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 01:34:14 PM »
If you are planning on bringing some long pants and light jacket you can sleep in those for added warmth if yoy need it . Since you already are bringing the tent I'm not sure you need the space blanket. If it were me, I'd take a small fleece blanket for some additional warmth and comfort.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 02:07:41 PM »
As Mark Twain said "There are lies, damn lies and statistics"  Yes the averages are 60 degrees for the low in May which means maybe down to 50 degrees in the Chisos and possibly a bit warmer across the Dodson.  I would bring what you think you need to the park and then carry only what you really need based on the most current forecast.

May is the beginning of the rainy season and I would bring the tent but not carry it if the forecast is solid for the two or three nights you will be out.  You might need a tarp just for shade but not a full tent.  A mummy liner with extra clothes should be fine if it is not colder than the 50's. Leave that heavy bag behind, you will need all the capacity you can muster for the extra water load.

If you really attempt the OML, you will also need to plan your days strategically to have mid day layovers in the shade somewhere (or created) and for heavens sake don't plan to do the climb up Blue Creek or Juniper canyons (depending on which direction you go) in the afternoon.  :icon_redface:  There are a few places along the Dodson you can find a bit of shade near rock walls in some of the washes like the ones that cross the far eastern end of the Dodson, down Fresno Creek and down the Smoky creek trail near it's junction with the Dodson.

Be careful and plan thoroughly.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 02:21:14 PM »
I wouldn't attempt the OML in May if I were you.  It's going to be HOT, and a very good chance of being dangerously hot, along the Dodson.  It was 90 this past weekend on the Marufo Vega.  Two months from now it's going to be 100+ daily.  Take that into consideration.

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 05:05:39 PM »
i climbed Vernon Bailey in May of 2005, before i knew that was one of the hottest months of the year in the park. Even at 6500 feet it was in the upper 90s and the sun was relentless. If you do go, plan to take more than a gallon per day, you will easily sweat that out.

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Offline JRD

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 05:07:18 PM »
We did the South Rim in early June last year, it was pretty cool at night, high 40's.

Spent the night at SW3 in the most ferocious thunder storm I've ever camped in.  I don't care what the weather report says, be ready for rain.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2010, 05:45:58 PM »
I wouldn't attempt the OML in May if I were you.  It's going to be HOT, and a very good chance of being dangerously hot, along the Dodson.  It was 90 this past weekend on the Marufo Vega.  Two months from now it's going to be 100+ daily.  Take that into consideration.

Yeah, I meant to also add that while the average highs are around 90, it can easily be 100+ out on the Dodson and especially if you are going solo, the rangers will just about arrest you before they will give in and write you a permit for the OML in May.  If you are experienced with the desert and that kind of heat then you should be OK and might be able to convince them.

See this park website page with their warnings of early May until Oct.

The first time I did the OML was the third week of April and it was over 100 on the Dodson but we found shade down Smoky Creek for a long mid day siesta (from noon til like 5:00) then walked on in the late evening to camp.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 07:56:39 PM »
a siesta from 11-2 would give you a break from the hottest sun, a chance to cool down, and a chance to rehydrate. don't get me wrong, the OML in may i doable, it's just going to be hot

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: sleeping system and expected temps in mid-May
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 08:47:54 PM »
I don't mean to sound like I'm jumping on the bandwagon, but hiking the Dodson section of the OML in mid May sounds like a recipe for disaster.  There is very little shade along that long section and the sun just beats down on you.  I hiked the OML back in Feb '09, and found even temps in the low 80's pretty warm along that stretch. 

Back to your original question, I doubt you'll need anything more than a fleece liner bag to sleep in.  I had a Slumberjack 20F bag with me on my OML, and I slept on top of the bag most of the night, as temps out in the desert barely got below 60F.

 


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